2:30 PM ET, March 10, 2005
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
CHICAGO (AP) -- Gene Keady sat on the bench looking as if he was in physical pain, scowling at the bad shots, grimacing with each errant pass and squirming in his seat every couple of seconds.After 25 years, this certainly wasn't how he imagined leaving. Keady's career at Purdue came to a disappointing end Thursday, with Iowa beating the Boilermakers 71-52 and ousting them from the Big Ten tournament. Keady was already on his feet as the final buzzer sounded, making his way to shake hands with Iowa coach Steve Alford. He shook hands with every Iowa player, and several reached over to pat him on his shoulder in a mini hug. Then he walked off the floor to a warm standing ovation. He finishes with a career record of 550-289 that includes six Big Ten titles and 17 NCAA appearances. Iowa (20-10) plays Michigan State (22-5, 13-3) in the quarterfinals Friday. Keady announced last spring that he would return to Purdue for one last season, his 25th with the Boilermakers. He helped picked his successor, Matt Painter, and hoped that would smooth the transition. But nothing went smoothly at Purdue this year. Already down from several weak recruiting classes, the Boilermakers got hit hard by injuries. Leading scorer and rebounder Carl Landry blew out his knee, and David Teague, second in scoring, was limited by a broken hand. Purdue finished 7-21, only the third time Keady has had a losing record at Purdue. The Boilermakers didn't win a game away from Mackey Arena after Dec. 18. Purdue was just 3-13 in Big Ten play, the worst showing of Keady's career. But Keady came to the conference tournament optimistic, saying earlier in the week he was bringing four suits and planned to wear them for games. Anyone who didn't share his faith could stay home, Keady said -- then joked that he might be riding an empty bus to Chicago. Dressed in a black suit and a gold tie, Keady walked onto the court during pregame warmups Friday as he has hundreds of times before. But when Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany walked to center court, it was clear this wasn't just another game. Keady is the last of the Big Ten's old guard, coaches who spent decades at one school and built intense rivalries in the process. Jud Heathcote at Michigan State. Lou Henson at Illinois. Tom Davis at Iowa. And of course, the biggest rival of all, Bob Knight at Indiana. They helped make the Big Ten a basketball powerhouse, and the crowd at the United Center gave him a standing ovation as Delany thanked Keady for his "great contributions not only to Purdue and the Big Ten, but to collegiate basketball. You've been a great competitor, a great friend of the game." Keady smiled, and gave a thumbs up when Delany invited him and his wife, Pat, to next year's Rose Bowl. He left the court with a wave, taking his seat on the bench one more time. And it was soon clear it would be the last time. The Hawkeyes opened with a barrage of 3-pointers, racing out to a 12-2 lead from which Purdue never recovered. The game was effectively over at halftime. Keady broke out his glasses for the second half, but there was little to see. Sitting next to Painter, he twiddled his thumbs, ran his hands up to that infamous combover, and several times leaned back, exhaling with disgust. He coached right to the end, though. His gravelly voice rose above the squeaks of sneakers, and he shook his fist 12 times during a timeout with just 2 minutes to play.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||20-56 (.357)||26-58 (.448)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-16 (.250)||9-20 (.450)|
|FT Made-Attempted||8-16 (.500)||10-18 (.556)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|